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September 28, 2022

My friend is colors.

Kiana Shaley Martin
My friend is colors.

Blue and blue and blue and green.

The day she finished chemotherapy, she called me.

Her voice ebbing on mercaptopurine, she said

she’s throwing a party. “It will be turquoise-themed.”

She loves the sea. Holds postcards of coastal cities

to the computer screen, her hands shaking. She says

Carpinteria looks effusive when drawn in spring. She is

wearing turquoise earrings. Cheeks sunken by avastin.

Most years of life are spent swimming, through the doldrums

from one motion to the next. When sailors are shipwrecked

and stranded, they see land masses forming in the gloaming.

Sometimes, there is a buoy. Sometimes, a miraculous current.

Dawn is a contusion, welting as my phone rings. She says

it is returning. Between mirage and horizon, she can feel

the purple growing. Her turquoise comforter is tucked

taut under mattress corners. She won’t sleep for two months.

Today, she buys a blue highlighter to mark the places

we will visit this summer. She says, “Don’t be a bummer.

Think of the photos we’ll take together.” But her smile

is like the weather. Behind her, a black umbrella.

Kiana Shaley Martin lives and writes in Long Beach. Previous work of hers has appeared in Sediments Literary-Arts Journal and Annex Magazine.

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